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Labrador Vs. Cocker Spaniel

Picture of a cocker spaniel and a chocolate lab meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle of the image

Labrador Retriever has been undisputedly on the top rank in America and 3rd in the UK for the past 3-4 decades. This is because they have a pleasant, sociable, and sportive nature. On the other hand, Cocker Spaniel is the smallest dog classified in the AKC Sporting Group. These dogs have also created a benchmark as medical assistants when a Cocker named Tangle showed an 80% success rate in detecting cancer. Keep reading to get a detailed comparison between Labrador and Cocker Spaniel and decide which will be better for you.


The Labrador breed was developed in the 1830s, when St. Johns Water Dogs bred by European settlers in Newfoundland, were first introduced to Britain through ships trading between Canada and Poole in Dorsetshire. These dogs were crossbred with British hunting dogs to produce Labradors.

These dogs fall in the category of medium-sized dogs. A fully grown Lab may weigh between 50 and 80 pounds and will grow around 21-24 inches. Their inherently strong legs and spine help them to be athletic. Their compact physique is often termed as ‘short coupled’. These dogs are available in Black, chocolate, and yellow coats.

Are Labrador Retrievers the same as a Labrador? Read our article “Labrador Retriever vs Labrador” to learn more.

Cocker Spaniel

Portrait of a cocker spaniel outdoors

American Cocker Spaniel was developed from the English Cocker Spaniel in the 19th century. It is believed that English Cocker Spaniels may have traveled from England to Newland on Mayflower in 1620. Hence, they have very deep roots in history. They were originally bred for retrieving Woodcock and quails but have developed into great family companions.

These sporting dogs can get up to 14-15 inches and will weigh between 26 and 60 pounds. These dogs have furry ears, impressive eyes, and long silky coats that come in a variety of shades. For example, black, brown, tricolor, and silver.

Differences Between Labradors and Cocker Spaniels

The following table shows some of the biggest different differences between these breeds.

CharacteristicsCocker SpanielLabrador Retriever
GroupSporting/ HuntingSporting/ Water Retrievers
Height14-15 inches21-24.5 inches
Weight26-60 pounds50-80 pounds
CoatLong and SilkyShort and hard
ColorsBlack, brown, tricolor, and SilverYellow, chocolate, and black
SheddingLow or even no sheddingHigh Shedding
GroomingHigh grooming requirementsLow-moderate grooming required
PlayfulnessNeed a moderate amount of playtimeNeed a lot of games and playtime
Exercise RequirementsLow-moderateVery high
Lifespan12-15 years10-12 years

Similarities Between Labradors and Cocker Spaniels

Side view of a cocker spaniel standing in grass outdoors

Some of the major similarities between Labs and Cocker Spaniels are discussed below.

Intellect – Both breeds are highly intelligent and quick learning. They are incredibly quick at learning and remembering new tricks.

Trainability – Both breeds are obedient and always keen to please their owners. Hence, training them is easy and enjoyable. Both breeds are also patient and focused.

Sociability – Both breeds are socially active and friendly. They appreciate interaction with new faces. They get along well with kids and behave well with strangers.

Personality – Both breeds are affectionate, like to snuggle, and are always willing to please. They are also highly prone to separation anxiety because they love to live in their pack.

Coat type – Both breeds might have different coat textures, but they do have the same coat type. Both these dogs have a double-layered coat.

Health Issues– Common health issues of Labrador and Cocker Spaniels include Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hip Dysplasia, and Cataracts.

What is Better about a Labrador?

A chocolate, yellow, and black labrador retriever laying side by side in a grass field

Labs have always been the best breed in terms of sociability, playfulness, and energy level. These dogs are unbeatable in living pleasantly with their pack. They get along equally well with elders and kids and love to see new faces. Their social skills become a subject of pride for their owners.

Labs also love to take part in sports because they help in stimulating their athleticism. Due to their short and dense coat, they will require less grooming.

Which dog is the better pet? Blue heeler of Labrador? Click here to learn more.

What is Better about a Cocker Spaniel?

Cocker Spaniel standing in wild flowers

In terms of overall health, Cocker Spaniels have an edge over Labs. Moreover, these dogs are loving and highly affectionate (even more than Labs) towards their pack. They are always keen to please their owners and are highly sensitive. They always want their owners to be happy with them and can get disturbed by a high tone.

Cocker Spaniels love to snuggle and cuddle with their owners. Their exercise requirements are low to moderate. Similarly, their smaller size and calmer nature allow them to do well in apartments. 

Who Should Get a Labrador?

Chocolate lab puppy sitting outdoors in grass

Labradors are an ideal choice for active and lively families. If you want a dog who can win dog contests and shows, Labs are best for you. They are also a great choice for families having a large social circle where they must interact with many strangers. Having an active demeanor means that these dogs require plenty of space to live. So, if you live in an apartment or small cottage, Labrador won’t get along well.

What traits do Labradors and Wolves have in common? Check out our post “Labrador VS Wolf “ to learn more.

Who Should Get a Cocker Spaniel?

Black cocker spaniel puppy sitting in autumn leaves and wild flowers

Cocker Spaniels are very impressive and cute-looking pets who have lovely eyes and pleasant smiles. They are playful and often considered good dogs for families due to their typically loving and gentle nature. Their fewer exercise requirements and calm demeanor make them a good choice for elder citizens. All these features also make them an ideal alternative for those who live in apartments or cottages.  

Do Labradors and American Cocker Spaniels Get Along?

Close up portrait of a cocker spaniel sitting outdoors

A home with an American Cocker Spaniel and a Labrador should be a very happy, friendly home indeed. Both Labs and Cocker Spaniels have stable, balanced temperaments with affectionate, fun, and goofy natures. They both love to play and are easy to train. Both have a lot in common as far as their personalities are concerned. Overall, they can be good pals with each other.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.